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Luwero Leaders Fail To Resolve UMSC, UMEA School Ownership Dispute

The meeting convened at the Luwero district council was intended to resolve an ownership dispute of 35 Muslim-founded schools and the nomination of parallel School Management Committees. This followed confusion that erupted when Luwero District Education Officer Florence Bbosa received nominations of School Management Committee members from two parallel organizations for the same schools.
Luwero Kadhi Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa (infront) and other County Sheikhs in meeting at Luwero district council hall

Audio 4

Luwero district authorities have failed to resolve a dispute between the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and the Uganda Muslim Education Association over ownership of schools.

Luwero District Chief Administrative Officer Elizabeth Namanda, together with the District Chairman Erastus Kibirango, among other leaders, today held a meeting with officials of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) led by Sheikh Juma Bakhit Cucu, the Secretary for Education and Uganda Muslim Education Association (UMEA) led by Assistant Secretary General Nasser Kiwanuka.

The meeting convened at the Luwero district council was intended to resolve an ownership dispute of 35 Muslim-founded schools and the nomination of parallel School Management Committees. This followed confusion that erupted when Luwero District Education Officer Florence Bbosa received nominations of School Management Committee members from two parallel organizations for the same schools.

Some of the affected schools are Kigulu, Wobulenzi and Nalweweta UMEA Primary School, among others. However, the meeting ended without a resolution and the district threatened to bypass the organisations and seek nominations from local mosques.

Sheikh Juma Bakhit Cucu, the Secretary of Education at UMSC told the leaders that the current UMEA leadership has no mandate in the management of Muslim-founded schools. He explained that in 1935, the Colonial government brought together various Muslim factions and formed UMEA to manage all Muslim-founded schools. However, in 1964, all schools were nationalized and UMEA ceased to operate.

He added that in 1972, Uganda Muslim Supreme Council took over the management of all Muslim property including schools and in 1995, individuals registered UMEA Limited as a private company, which cannot claim ownership of any Public school.

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Cue out…to be.”//

Luwero District Kadhi Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa said that UMEA Limited pays allegiance to the Kibuli  Muslim faction and wants to grab schools that are under the management and control of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council. Mulindwa added that the Education Act respects only Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and warned the district against dealing with UMEA Limited because they are not accountable to anybody.

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Hajji Musa Kakande, the UMEA Coordinator in Greater Luwero districts didn't explain where they derive powers to manage Muslim-founded schools but instead asked the District Kadhi to focus on pastoral work. Kakande also accused Luwero the Kadhi of interfering with the nomination of School Management Committees and the deployment of headteachers.

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Erastus Kibirango the LC III Chairman of Luwero district said they had no capacity to resolve the ownership dispute and asked the supreme council to pursue the matter in the courts of law. Kibirango added that they agreed that both factions can form a committee to nominate officials for the disputed schools.

Kibirango, however, said that in case they fail to agree, the district will ask nearby mosques to nominate School Management Committees in respect to their allegiance to either Old Kampala or Kibuli factions until the court decides on the matter.

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Luganda//Cue in; “N’olwekyo nga tumanyi…

Cue out;…kibeere bwekityo.”//

Schools are mandated to establish a 13-member School Management Commitee comprising six members nominated by the founding body for a three-year term. According to the Education act 2008, SMCs are mandated to manage schools and oversee the day-to-day administration and conduct of the school by the headteacher among other roles.